September 4th

September 4, 2008 pottersp

“Different Attitudes on Using Pencils” was very interesting to me. It shows that the least thought about differences are actually kind of extreme when you really think about it. In this case, the use of pencils. Here in the U.S., we think nothing of it. However, in China, pencils are considered “useless” after kindergarten. The U.S. is based on individuality, when China is based on rules and regulations. We all pay too much attention to the negatives about each other, when we should look at each other’s strong points and maybe try to emulate them so we can better our society. The simple use of pencils and pens can actually lead us to exploration of the bigger differences between the two countries.

I thought this was a good ethnography because he used artifacts ( the pen and the pencil), to show the different culture values. It contains the conflict of the American individualistic culture and the Chinese rules and regulations culture. He applied his understanding to make the argument bigger for “mutual cultural awareness and appreciation.” He clearly showed that one thing that is valued in one culture might be viewed the total opposite in another culture. From this ethnography, I think I can take the use of artifacts and use it in my own. I can also show that to one culture/group, something may be valued more or less than another culture/group. The conflict that he used between the two cultures worked, however, I think he could have went more in depth.

 

“Rusted Roots” was about fitting in and being sure of yourself. Being who you are and truly loving yoursef. It also showed how the outer appearance is very important to people today. The writer states how when she was younger, the boys used to make fun of her red hair and she became very self-conscious. She had been outgoing and athletic, but she became shy and began doubting her athleticism. She was not only self-conscious of her red hair, but also her pale skin and her blonde eyelashes. She would use hair lightener, self tanner, and mascara to try and look like the other girls. When really, she just needed to become more comfortable with herself. In college, she finally began to embrace who she was. Instead of trying to change her appearance, she just enhanced her most unique qualities which were her red hair, pale skin, and blonde eyelashes. She showed that we take appearance too seriously. It’s one thing to look nice, but it shouldn’t be as big a priority as it’s come to be. Some people like to stand out, and some peope like to blend it. However, you should ALWAYS be comfortable with yourself.

 

Like they stated in the Editor’s Note, its an authoethnography because she talks about her own experience in culure values. The conflict is between an individual and society. With all the expectations and critiques of the society today, you have to be able to still be comfortable with yourself. Don’t change just because you don’t look like the so-called “popular” girls. God made everyone unique in their own way. I don’t think I can take as much from this ethnography as I could the first one. This seems like more of a personal account in my opinion.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. hardwian  |  September 4, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    I would have to agree with you. I really found the use of his artifacts, the pens and pencils, really interesting. It is ironic how we as Americans are really used to having our freedom and the fact that the Chinese have to use pens, restricts them from their freedom. We would not even think about something as simple as the utensils we use as an idea of freedom. Yet to the Chinese and other Asian and European countries the simplitest things as being able to write with what you want to write with is not a choice.

  • 2. pilkinbl  |  September 4, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    could the “bigger differences” in culture (diff. in pens and pencils) be more involving the institutions of education in each country?


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